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Mental health and substance abuse struggles are common everywhere. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are or where you live. We often hear from the media about consequences of these struggles and what children can expect in their futures. But, what we don’t hear enough of is the recovery and resiliency of children.
If you have a bad cough or high fever you call your doctor and schedule an appointment. Right? Most likely, you would do so without thinking twice. So, why should you suffer in silence if you are an new or expecting mom and struggling with your mental health? You don’t have to suffer or feel guilty or ashamed.
What I’ve come to realize is that we cannot pause life in good times or bad times. I have heard phrases like “wait it out,” “stay home until this date,” and “we’ll get back to our lives soon”. This creates an unhealthy expectation that we can resume life as normal once COVID-19 ends.
Today, you and many others, are likely telecommuting to work and seeing you family more in one week than perhaps you had in the previous year. If you are in a committed romantic relationship, then this time of self-quarantining has some important considerations.
“It is perfectly normal for people to feel isolated and anxious in the current crisis,” states CFS CEO Dr. Jacob Christenson. “Covenant Family Solutions is grateful to be able to aid in the community response to help people navigate the mental health struggles they are facing during these uncertain times.”
It is important to keep in mind that everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Whether you feel anxious or numb, your emotions and reactions are completely valid. Even those who have never struggled with a clinical mental health issue may experience symptoms of acute stress, anxiety, and depression.
Caregiving is one of the most challenging roles even under regular circumstances. You do not need to be everything to everyone, and there will be times you feel overwhelmed. Try to take a step back and focus on the big picture. You are doing your best and your best may be different day to day, or even minute by minute.
A huge developmental part of being a teen or moving into adulthood is focus on social engagement and fostering sense of independence or autonomy. Try to view things from your teen’s perspective. Virtually overnight, they have gone from having the most freedom they have ever experienced to the least amount. This is hard!
Check in with your children and ask them how they are doing. Children often show us through behaviors, rather than words, when they are struggling. While this can range from isolating behaviors to acting out, children may just be feeling more anxious. Try to find a quiet time to connect one-on-one and ask how your child is doing and what they might need.
Telehealth is extremely convenient and may help patients to feel private and more comfortable in sessions. Hooray, no more awkward feelings about bumping into your neighbor in the waiting room! Telehealth also allows patients in rural and underserved areas to see a provider without an hour or more drive.
Daily life can be a struggle, especially when our brain does not get a break. Day-to-day life is frequently filled with never ending lists (which may or may not get written down and crossed off), as well as perfectly timing and prioritizing those lists, and all those other little essential and non-essential things we think about on a daily basis.